Archive: If you liked it,
Time line: About two days
before the coney stew :o)
Summary: “ . . .
Gandalf had told him to take care of the Ring Bearer. But what
now? He felt the lack of closeness beginning to gnaw at him .
Disclaimer: Middle Earth
and all its inhabitants, the Sundering seas and Over-heaven belong
to the incredible genius that was J.R.R. Tolkien. No copyright
infringement is intended, I am not making money from this at all,
and will always stay in deep and humble adoration of the wonderful
world he has created and in which I have lived since I was 4 years
old. Thank you. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, or
so they say. I hope this is at least a little flattering and enough
to make the great man smile from up there.
Feedback: Yes. Yes! Even
the smallest note can change an author’s look on the day.
:o) To rephrase Galadriel slightly. :o)
Author's Note: A great
big thank you goes out to Quiller for being merciless. Can’t
ever thank her enough for the simply awesome beta reads she does.
I can’t think of a better phrase than: Enlightening. Thank
Dedication: To Kati-Wan.
Because I love her. To Baylor, because she is incredible. And
to Sleepwalker, because of her undying enthusiasm for Tolkien.
In a real
dark night of the soul it is always three o'clock in the morning.
(F. Scott Fitzgerald)
shouldn’t be here. Neither of us should. This whole wretched
quest has been a bad idea right from the beginning.’
Samwise Gamgee’s gaze strayed over to the huddled form
of the sleeping Frodo Baggins. Deep lines marred the youthful
face, even in sleep. Lines carved deep by pain and grief. Sam
wondered if those lines were visible on his own face as well.
He had been glad to see his master eating the meagre supper
he had managed to prepare. Nothing much had been left for him,
but Sam ignored his stomach’s defiant growls. He was built
sturdier than his master.
He looked around and was strangely relieved to find that Gollum
had left once more. Repressing a shiver, he admitted to himself
that the creature unsettled him more than he could possibly
Again his eyes lingered on Frodo, wrapped in the grey cloaks
the people of Lórien had woven for them, his face barely
visible. The other hobbit shivered, despite the warm material.
Was he cold? Sam rued not being allowed to keep the fire lit.
Mr. Frodo looked so ghastly small and cold, there, huddled between
two jagged and sharp-edged boulders. There wasn’t all
that much of a contrast between the two of them anymore. The
hobbit’s face was pale and drawn, with an unhealthy grey
hue upon it, much like the stone. His features were shrinking
to gauntness, the nose standing out sharply while the haunted
blue eyes sank further and further into his head. Eyes so expressive
that Sam could read the emotions simmering in Mr. Frodo, even
though he did not display them.
Sometimes it seemed to Sam that his master wasn’t actually
using those eyes to look at his surroundings anymore. More and
more he seemed to be seeing a place inside himself, a place
only he could travel through.
Sam desperately wanted to follow him.
‘Don’t you lose him, Samwise Gamgee.’
That’s what Gandalf had said. ‘Don’t you
He had been trying so hard.
But the wee talks he had with Mr. Frodo were getting shorter
and farther between and he felt the gulf between them growing
bigger by the minute. Why was Frodo leaving him? Why would his
master decide to go to a place where he, Samwise, couldn’t
The horror of being stranded in this awful place with nothing
but the shell of Frodo and that horrible Gollum creature struck
Sam anew. Thoughts were swirling in his head with increasing
pandemonium. Sam ran a tired hand through his thick curls.
They were drifting apart. Out here. In the one place where they
needed each other the most. Never before had Sam felt so horribly
‘Don’t you lose him, Samwise Gamgee.’
Again Gandalf’s words assaulted him. ‘Don’t
you lose him.’
A dreadful weight, similar to the one he saw his master carrying,
dropped on his shoulders and weighed him down. A thought struck
with appalling clarity.
‘Forgive me, Mr. Gandalf, sir. I think I already have.’
Frodo’s chest rose and fell slowly, calmly. For once his
sleep didn’t seem to be troubled. A few of the harsh lines
were smoothing themselves out. A smile flickered, restoring
the face momentarily to youth.
What was Mr. Frodo dreaming about?
Sam should never have allowed his master to leave Bag End. If
his task was to never leave nor lose Mr. Frodo, as Gandalf had
charged, then why hadn't he stopped his master from ever going
on this ghastly journey into the unknown?
Too much had been given into the other halfling’s hands.
He was but a hobbit. Mr. Frodo shouldn’t have to carry
the fate of Middle-earth on his fragile shoulders.
"Sam?" A sleepy, raspy voice. Out here, dwarfed by
the endlessness of the land surrounding Cirith Gorgor and the
knowledge of what lay ahead, that tiny voice still had the power
to stop the nauseous waves of guilt crashing over Samwise Gamgee.
A tousled head rose from under the travel-cloak, and worried
eyes opened slowly to fix on the other hobbit.
"Sam, you need to sleep. I will take over the watch."
"No, I don’t need to sleep. I can stay awake, don’t
you worry, sir. There is no need for you to --."
Sam swallowed the torrent of protest ready to spill from his
tongue. Was Mr. Frodo smiling? Even through the murky darkness,
out here, in the most unwelcoming of all surroundings, in the
most dreadful of places possible – Mr. Frodo was smiling
at him. An utter calm rushed into Sam’s heart. That smile
could still light up the darkest of times. Much like Galadriel’s
gift to them.
Maybe not all hope was lost.
A cool little hand pushed him down insistently, and his cloak
was tucked around him.
"You were smiling in your sleep, Mr. Frodo," Sam ventured
carefully. "Was it a nice dream?"
The slim hobbit turned to look at him. Blue eyes sparkled brightly,
with a liveliness that warmed Sam’s heart. He couldn’t
begin to express how much he had missed this.
"Yes, Sam. It was indeed."
Silence settled over them once more and for a few moments, panic
clawed its way into Sam’s mind. Had those few moments
been all there was? Were they going to retreat back into strained
silence again? He was supposed to be the strong one on this
journey. Gandalf had told him to take care of the Ringbearer.
But what now? He felt the lack of closeness beginning to gnaw
at him. He mustn’t let this happen. He had to find a way
to bring them back together. Gloom mustn’t win the battle
for their hearts.
"Mr. Frodo?" He tried to keep the worried quiver out
of his voice.
"It has been a long time since we spoke more than just
the bare necessities. And . . . and I know all of this is hard
for you, with what you have to carry and all. And . . . I really
don’t want to overtax you. But I don’t rightly.
He didn't dare look up to see the effect his incoherent babble
might be having on his master, but he heard the amusement in
the soft voice when it asked: "Sam, what is it?"
"Would you . . . would you mind telling me one of old Mr.
For a long time, there was silence. The wind howled lowly around
the jagged rocks and the murky darkness seemed to grow even
blacker. The air smelled of sadness and fear.
He knew he shouldn’t have asked. Bilbo was probably the
last thing on Mr. Frodo’s mind. Or the first – and
if so, Samwise Gamgee cursed himself for being so insensitive.
"I . . . I shouldn’t have . . ." he began, but
was silenced by a soothing hand on his head. It pushed away
the unruly curls from Sam’s forehead and lingered for
a while, before he could hear it being tucked away in the wide
sleeve of the travel-cloak.
The gesture was small, but oddly comforting.
Then Frodo Baggins began talking. Of the elves in Rivendell,
of the happiness and laughter Bilbo had shared there. Of the
ride on the big eagles, and Bilbo’s terrible fear of heights
after that. A few tales of the shenanigans of the inseparable
Merry and Pippin. He kept the stories light-hearted, and attempted
to make Sam chuckle ever so often.
None of the stories were new to Sam. In fact, he might have
heard them a hundred times before. But that didn’t matter
in the least.
It was Mr. Frodo talking. And there was long-lost hope in his
He had lit his very last pipe-weed, and his voice and the occasional
laughter in it wove a cocoon of safety and familiarity over
Sam could almost imagine being in the Shire, sitting in front
of Bag End and listening to old Bilbo in rapt excitement. The
soothing smell of the pipe lulled him. Mr. Frodo’s voice
had sunk down to a soft murmur and Sam lost the battle with
sleep. Fatigue prevailed at last.
The last thing Sam felt was the heavy cloak of his master being
spread over him. He was too tired to argue.
‘Don’t you leave him, Samwise Gamgee.’
The wizard’s voice oozed into his sleep.
‘I don’t mean to, Mr. Gandalf, sir. I don’t
And in his dream, the lost wizard smiled.